Tennis / Sports

Nadal wins in pain at French Open; Murray stranded by bad light

PARIS -- Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal advanced despite back pain to reach the fourth round at the French Open while Andy Murray was left stranded in a fifth set due to the fading light on Saturday.

Top seed Nadal was all business as he beat Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 to win a 31st consecutive match at Roland Garros. He will play a round of 16 match in Paris for a 10th straight year.

The Spaniard made a rare admission that his back has not been 100 percent this week.

"I felt a little bit my back, so that's why I slow down a little bit the serve," he said. "I felt it a little bit from the beginning. In the second match I was not serving that fast, either."

Nadal was joined as a winner by fifth seed David Ferrer, the compatriot he beat a year ago in the final. Ferrer advanced over Italian Andreas Seppi 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.

Seventh seed Murray was left hanging after more than three and a quarter hours as he stood level with Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 7-7, when bad light stopped play.

Spain's Fernando Verdasco led French 12th seed Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 2-2 under similar circumstances.

French showman Gael Monfils demonstrated every known emotion in a five-set thriller over Italian Fabio Fognini, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 after nearly three and a half hours.

The epic was all about plot twists, with Monfils complaining in the fourth set that he was "dying."

"It's like I'm dying. (Expletive), I'm collapsing," moaned Monfils, a one-time Paris semi-finalist who was seen on court by the doctor at one point.

After dropping the fourth to love, the French showman made a miracle recovery with a 3-0 lead over the clowning Italian, whose effort level can often be suspect.

Monfils calmly broke back after losing serve in the fifth game and took a 4-2 lead over the increasingly listless Fognini. The French crowd-pleaser won it running away, leaping into the air with joy and shock.

"This is some of the toughest tennis I've played," he said. "I don't know how I won the fifth. The crowd really helped."

French fans took great delight in jeering Fognini at any opportunity in a match that produced 19 breaks of serve from 42 chances. Monfils has 56 unforced errors, with Fognini producing a massive 81.

South African Kevin Anderson advanced 6-3 as Croatian Ivo Karlovic quit injured.

Serb Dusan Lajovic rolled Jack Sock of the U.S. 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. Spain's Marcel Granollers concluded a match stopped Friday by darkness as he beat Martin Klizan 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.

Women's fourth seed Simona Halep confirmed her title potential as the highest women's seed remaining in the field as she reached the fourth round 6-3, 6-0 over Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor.

Halep, the losing finalist to Maria Sharapova at Madrid, has benefited from the early exits of Serena Williams, Li Na and Agineszka Radwanska.

"It's not a surprise, because I'm more confident now in myself, and I feel the ball really good here in French Open," the Romanian said.

"I'm happy to be for (the) first time in fourth round here in Paris, so I hope it will not be the first and the last."

Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, 2009 champion, out-dueled fifth seed and 2011 Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 9-7 in three and one-quarter hours.

Kuznetsova won despite the distractions of Kvitova's medical pauses, which took her to the locker room for taping of her upper thigh on more than one occasion.

Sixth seed Jelena Jankovic beat Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-2 while Italian 10th seed Sara Errani crushed Julia Glushko 6-0, 6-1.

Czech Lucie Safarova knocked out 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic, seeded 11th, with a 6-3, 6-3 result. American 15th seed Sloane Stephens beat Ekaterina Makarova, 6-3, 6-4.

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